While Newgarden is mum about 2017, he has lots of good to say about 2016

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No matter where he winds up in 2017, Josef Newgarden will never forget the season that was in 2016.

Newgarden, who finished sixth in Sunday’s season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, is keeping mum about what next season holds in store for him in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

There are rumors about him potentially joining Team Penske.

Others call Newgarden the pivotal domino during the offseason: where he ultimately ends up could potentially impact the 2017 season plans for several other drivers – and what teams they’ll wind up racing for.

And there’s still a chance Newgarden could remain with Ed Carpenter Racing, a team that he has truly blossomed with, particularly in the last two seasons (2015 was under the Carpenter/Fisher Racing banner).

All in all, 2016 was a great season for Newgarden, particularly since it ended with a career-best fourth-place overall finish in the standings. Had he been able to amass just three more points in the 16-race schedule, he would have finished third in the overall season standings.

Still, he’s not complaining.

“We feel great about it,” Newgarden told NBCSN after the race. “It would have been nice to get Helio (Castroneves) there. I was doing everything I could and the team was working as hard as they could. We missed it by just a bit.

“I still think we had a great season. We really had an amazing team effort and all year, with all the trials and tribulations, everybody pulled through when we needed to. We nearly got there in the end. There’s nothing for us to hang our heads about.”

As for his future and what team he’ll race for next season, Newgarden will never forget where he came from.

“I love this team,” he said. “I can’t say anything but great things about it. I love working here, I’ve got everything I could ask for from a boss and a team. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this group all year.”

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”